Sunday, January 29, 2006

More stupid than Bush?

Morialekafa will not appear again until Wednesday, February 1st. Another trip to the west.

According to the Los Angeles Times the reason Bush continues to get away with lying and duplicity is because half of the American public is more stupid than he is. Well, duh. I don't believe that so many Americans are stupid. I believe they are ignorant. There is a great difference between stupidity and ignorance. People in the New Guinea Highlands where I worked were not stupid, for example, when it came to the question of space exploration. They were completely ignorant about it and when once explained to them (however inadequately by me) they very quickly caught on fairly well. They were also ignorant about many things such as how automobiles and planes were made and etc. This does not man they were stupid. Similarly, I think the problem with so many Americans is that they are ignorant rather than stupid. And how could they not be ignorant with the utter useless trash they are fed daily by the mainstream media? They are given virtually no real information about anything of importance, fed instead on scandal, reality tv, disappearing blonds, celebrity pregnancies, and whatever. Why do so many still believe there was a connection between al Qaeda and Sadam Hussein? Because the media have not made a point to tell them otherwise. Why do they continue to believe that Sadam was behind 9/11? Because the media refuses to emphasize the truth. Why are they going to believe Bush didn't know either Ken Lay or Jack Abramoff? Because the media isn't going to tell them the truth, or anything about it at all if they can help it. For all intents and purposes the mainstream media are part of the Bush/Cheney administration and are equally guilty for the dismal state of the world at the moment.

Fifty thousand (50,000) American troops have been forced into extended duty under the military "stop-loss" program. But this doesn't mean that our military is spread too thin or than morale is suffering, or that the occupation of Iraq is not going well. Just ask your brain-dead Secretary of Defense. Things are going well in Iraq and we are making progress (aside from the complete chaos, the absence of security, the ongoing civil war, the failure to provide water and electricty, the alignment of Iraq with Iran, and other minor matters). And, as the billions that were earmarked for reconstruction have already disappeared into the coffers of war profiteers we will not be able to reconstruct much of anything. I guess we aren't going to reconstruct New Orleans for many of the same reasons. You're doing a hecka of a job Bush!

Tiger Woods wins again! Incredible.

Root for the Seahawks!

I don't believe there could be a lot of people more stupid than Bush. But what do I know about anything? Not much, I fear. But something tells me that things are not going well either in the U.S. or the world. Is this just my ignorance, or perhaps my imagination?

Saturday, January 28, 2006

Republican shame

I don't think the founding fathers conceived of a situation in which one party would control all branches of government and be joined by the so-called "fourth estate" (media). Had they actually thought about this they would never have allowed one party to have absolute power (that is, the elimination of checks and balances). The most serious problem, however, is with the media, which has now become nothing more than a stenographer for the Republicans and has abdictated its responsibility to monitor the government and try to keep it honest.

What this means, as near as I can tell, is that Democrats are completely powerless and are increasingly just ignored. They have no power. They can do virtually nothing to interfere with the Republican agenda. What this also means, however, is that the Republicans now have an obligation to do what is best for the country and its citizens. And here they are clearly failing. Attacking a sovereign nation that is no threat to you is a war crime. Indeed, it is the premier war crime. Can anyone deny that Bush/Cheney/Rumsfeld did just that. Killing civilians is a war crime. Hiding prisoners from the Red Cross is a war crime. Torturing prisoners is a war crime. Using white phosphorous on individuals is a war crime. War profiteering is a war crime. There is no doubt that all of these crimes have been committed by the Bush/Cheney administration. But still the Republican party continues to support and defend these obvious criminals. The Democrats can do nothing. The Republicans can do everything. So why do they not do something? Are they proud that their party is being led by war criminals and liars? Have they no responsibility to the nation and the citizens? Are they, in fact, more committed to party than justice?

Not only is the above true, there is also the question of impeachable offenses. All of the above should be grounds enough for impeachment. But there is also the fact that they blatanly lied to Congress and the American people to bring this "war" about. They had to know Iraq had no WMD's. They had to know there was no connection between Sadam and al Qaeda. They had to know they were fixing the rationale for "war" that could not otherwise be justified. They knew Iraq was not a credible threat to us or anyone else. These are all impeachable offenses. Now, in addition, they have broken the law with illegal spying on American citizens (of course they claim it is legal - what else could they claim having been caught red-handed). Their so-called legal justification is no more than fantasy. And they lie to the point of pathology and expect us to believe it. Bush doesn't know Ken Lay? Bush doesn't know Jack Abramoff? There are pictures of the two of them together but the White House won't release them? There is all kinds of information about what went wrong with Katrina but they won't release that either? How much longer do we have to put up with this?

I guess the answer is forever, because there are no honorable Repunblicans committed to truth and justice and the Democrats are powerless. I hope these treasonous, dishonest, and totally unpatriotic Republicans are sleeping well at night. If there is any justice (which I am beginning to doubt) it will surely catch up with them.

Friday, January 27, 2006

"Every breath you take"

I would like someone to explain to me (in some detail) how it is that Honda and Toyota can spend a billion or so building automobile plants in the United States and make money hand over fist while American auto makers claim they have to outsource and shut down? One explanation I heard is that Ford and GM continued to make SUV's that the American public did not want to buy. As both Toyota and Honda make SUV's I do not find this a very satisfactory explanation although I grant it might have some relevance. Another explanation has to do with pensions and health insurance. Someone today claimed that if Ford only had to pay for health insurance what Honda pays they would have made a profit instead of a loss. They claim that the reason for the discrepancy is that Honda has a much younger work force and therefore their costs for health insurance are much less. In other words, Ford, a company that has paid its workers fairly well, and given them a decent pension system plus medical coverage, is being punished for such a noble attempt. One of the arguments across the board for virtually all businesses in the U.S. is that they can't compete because the costs of medical insurance are too great. You might wonder why they don't conclude that what we need in the U.S. is a single payer universal health care system like every other advanced country in the world. But, no, socialized medicine and all that. Can't have that. Let's just keep caving in to the pharmaceutical companies and the medical groups who will not allow anything sensible like universal health care. Frankly, I hope they all go under.

It is now known that we have at least four permanent military bases in Iraq. Permanent in the sense that they have their own Burger Kings, bowling alleys, swimming pools, and etc. So when you hear anyone say we are going to bring our troops home you will know that doesn't apply to all troops, just those who will not be part of a permanent presence in Iraq (and the Middle East). I have said from the very beginning the U.S. had/has no intention of giving up a presence in the Middle East. Have to protect all that oil, you know, that oil that had nothing whatever to do with why we invaded. We were really interested in just spreading democracy - and spread it we have. Iraq has now democratically decided they would like to be affiliated with Iran, and Hamas has won a landslide victory in Palestine. The march of democracy continues - except we won't accept it. Ah, democracy.

The somewhat belated attempt by the democrats to filibuster Alito is probably not going to fly. McClellan and other Republicans are ridiculing it, and most everyone who claims to know says that it will fail. They claim the democrats will be lucky to get 30 votes, let along the 41 they need. The head of says wait until monday before you decide. I will wait but I confess I am not sanguine about the possibilities. Democrats have become so inept I bet they have to ask Republicans to help tie their shoes in the cloakroom. How I wish there could be a viable second party. But it is obvious that the one party in power will not allow it. Oh, well, American democracy had a long run. Too bad it's all over.

While I was writing this I was listening to the new Republican theme song, Every Breath You Take. You know, the one that goes something like "every breath you take, every step you take, I'll be watching you." How appropriate.

Thursday, January 26, 2006

Worry, justice, and John Kerry

I have an anonymous reader who worries about me. He/she thinks I should not worry about the size of envelopes but be thankful I can write checks to fill them. I guess that's true. I do worry about the size of envelopes a lot. Indeed, every night when I go to bed I worry about those envelopes. Actually, it keeps me from worrying so much about other things.

For example, A Chief Warrant Officer was just now tried for murder. He put an Iraqi General head first into a sleeping bag, wrapped it tightly with electrical wire, and sat on the General's chest until he suffocated. He was convicted of "negligent homicide." Negligent, as far as I know, means carelessness. I guess he was pretty careless. Anyway, for this abhorrent act he was sentenced to 60 days of home confinement (of course he's allowed to go to church). The fact that the General's face had apparently been beaten to a pulp for two days previously by CIA goons with rubber hoses was not an issue or, I gather, even mentioned. But I just can't help worrying about those tiny envelopes.

Those envelopes also help me to forget what happened and is happening in Iraq. Remember, we went to "war" (an illegal, immoral, unconstitutional, and totally unnecessary act) against Iraq because of a bunch of blatant lies fed to us by Bush/Cheney/Rumsfeld/Rice/Powell/Wolfowitz/et al. There is no way to assess the horror and misery this "war" has caused, not only to Iraqis, but also to ourselves. I cannot watch films of what is happening there without bursting into tears. But when I do, I just think of those stupid envelopes and immediately feel better about things.

Then sometimes I worry about the national debt, poverty, the lack of universal medical care, the environment, the victims of Katrina, aids, abortion rights, homosexual marriages, unemployment, and other stuff like that. When it threatens to keep me awake I just remember the problem with the envelopes. Those envelopes are a real sophorific.

Tonight I will worry about something else. I will worry about whether John Kerry can find 40 other Senators to vote with him and sustain a filibuster so that Judge Alito can be denied a seat on the Supreme Court. While this is not as serious as the size of those envelopes I will worry about it nonetheless. I fear that Alito will allow the President to claim (and achieve) dictatorial powers that will mark the end of our Republic as we have known it up until now. It will also probably mean I will no longer be able to fill those envelopes with checks every month as he will have successfully brought about the complete bankruptcy of our nation.

But not to worry. Bush has managed to bring democracy to the Middle East. Iraq has democratically voted to institute an Islamic Constitution and in Palestine Hamas has won power in a virtual landslide. The U.S. is not going to recognize either of these democratically elected governments. So much for democracy. And oh, our own democracy doesn't seem to be doing very well either.

So dear readers, don't worry about me. I continue to be optimistic. I know that someday, when there are no more human beings on this planet, things will be just hunky-dory.

Wednesday, January 25, 2006

Payments - essay

Quite frankly, I am so disgusted with Democrats I don't even want to think about it. What a gutless, spineless, bunch of absolute wimps that lack even the intelligence to act in their own best interest (unless, of course, they see their own best interest in obsequiously doing the bidding of Republicans). Even Democrats like John Kerry who have said in the past they would filibuster candidates who wanted to reverse Roe vs Wade refuse to step up and do it. Maybe Republicans have so much "dirt" on some of them they simply do not dare to oppose Alito. I do not understand this (and I am not altogether certain I want to understand it). If Democrats can't filibuster Alito who in the world would they ever be able to filibuster? There is no longer a two party system in the United States and there is no viable democracy either. Prepare to prostrate yourself several times a day to our new King and give up your civil rights (which you no longer have in any case). Bush is above the law. No, he is the law. So submit and quit pretending your vote counts for anything.

As I cannot bear what is happening here is a simple-minded essay to distract you for at least a moment:

Paying bills is always a nasty business. Unpleasant, to say the least. But when the first of the month rolls around that's what we do. It's just like death and taxes. I guess that most companies realize this. That's why they often try to make it easier for you by providing return envelopes. Of course these are seldom prepaid. Even so, one has to appreciate the thoughtfulness, however profit motivated. There are, however, some interesting variations in the way companies handle this sensitive problem. The best and easiest system by far is when they provide you with an already addressed envelope, precisely the right size, in which you merely have to place your check and the return stub, lick the flap, put on a stamp, and that's that. Most companies do not make things quite so simple. More often than not the return envelope has a little cellophane window so that you must put the return stub in precisely the proper manner so their address shows through the little window. You have to be on your toes with these because if you make a mistake you end up having to try to steam open the stupid thing and reposition the contents, or, failing that, ripping the thing open and having to fasten it together with scotch tape, thus revealing your incompetence not only to the company but also to the postal employees who have to handle such things. I bet they entertain themselves by having contests over which mail routes have the most idiots per month.
I must admit, however, that I have much more respect for companies that provide return envelopes than for those, perhaps equally numerous ones, that provide nothing other than their bill. In these cases not only must you experience the pain of having to pay, you also have to furnish an envelope and go to all the trouble of addressing it yourself. What a drag! I confess to being very suspicious of companies too cheap to provide you with return envelopes. This strikes me as corporate arrogance carried to extremes. I suppose the stockholders like it, believing that it increases profits.
But all this is merely the tip of the iceberg (problem). What about those companies or individuals that send you bills in non-standard sizes. Like, if you get a bill on ordinary 8 and 1/2 by 11 inch paper, accompanied by an ordinary business size envelope, it's relatively simple. Both check and stub fit neatly into the envelope as one would assume they should. So why do so many businesses print their bills on nonstandard sized paper? Sometimes you get a tiny stub that fits more than comfortably into a standard envelope, along with your check - no problem. But conversely, sometimes you get a return envelope too small to accomodate the stub. My dentist does this. He's a really super dentist, best I ever had, has all the most modern up-to-date equipment, wonderful facility, the works. And he sends you a normal sized bill. However, the envelope is too small. You have to fold the stub three or four times to get it to fit. It's a pain. And stupid, to say the least. A standard size personal check will, however, fit, a blessing when compared with the bills I receive from our local veterinarian. This guy obviously has no sense of either design or function, but what is worse he apparently has no regard for his customers. He sends you a standard sized bill, with a standard sized return stub, but with an envelope so small you almost have to roll the stub into a ball. And worse than that, you can't even fit a standard check into the damn thing. You have to fold your check at least a quarter of an inch at one end to get it to fit. You'd think he'd get tired of having to unfold his checks and payment stubs. I suppose his secretary does it.
What's with these people? Have they no sense of function at all? No respect for their customers? Who sells them this stationery? Who designs it? Don't their secretaries complain? Who designs these ridiculous systems in the first place? Do the designers just assume that doctors, dentists, veterinarians, bankers and other professionals are just too stupid to realize what they are doing? Or is it just another example of "buyer beware?" It might be different if these irregular designs had some aesthetic virtue that the more ordinary ones lack, but they don't. They are just as dreary and ordinary as the others except for their size. I don't know about you, but I want my bills only on the first of the month, with addressed return envelopes, into which I can easily slip the payment stubs and my checks. No
hassles, no strain. I fear, however, that people stupid enough to use these user unfriendly systems are also probably too stupid to change.

Tuesday, January 24, 2006

Senatorial insanity

The Alito nomination was forwarded to the complete Senate by a completely partisan vote: ten Republicans for it, eight Democrats opposed. Now you might think that if we had a President interested in the best interests of the nation and the American public he might sense how divisive this is and withdraw the nomination. But who could possibly believe that Bush/Cheney have any interest whatsoever in the national interest or the American public? They have never shown any interest in anything other than enriching their already filthy rich cronies and the corporate interests that make their reign possible.

But what's with the Senate? It is understandable, I guess, why Democratic Senators are speaking out against Alito (but doing nothing meaningful about it), but what about other Senators? Why are they supporting this guy? Any of them? Alito is on record for supporting the so-called "unitary executive" concept. What this means is he believes the Executive (President) should have virtually unlimited power. What this also means is that the power of the Senate and the House will be diminished. Senators are going to vote for this? Are they completely insane? This is like voting for someone who has announced in advance he/she is going to eliminate your job (in this case, power). Frankly, I don't understand this. But, then, I don't understand how anyone could possibly continue to support this scandal-ridden, lying, torturing, criminal, incompetent, greedy bunch of self-serving nincompoops. Somewhere I saw today that Bush's approval rating was down to 36%. Does this mean that almost a third of the U.S. population has already had lobotomies?

If you somehow still believe that Bush acted legally to order warrantless wiretaps read the latest issue of the New York Review of Books and peruse the list of legal experts who have signed off on this. If you believe anything Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld, Rice, or any of the other neocons say, please consult your nearest psychiatrist. And oh, yeah, the Iranians are someday going to have a nuclear bomb. When they do they will immediately drop it on Israel because...well, because they have a death wish and want their country immediately bombed off the face of the earth. You must understand, idiocy comes in really big doses in the United States. The Senate is a good example. The House is worse. But remember, always be of good cheer. Busy boys are happy boys, and never happier than when feasting splendidly on corporate largesse. Don't worry, all is not lost. That will come later this year.

Monday, January 23, 2006

Lies and deceptions

Bush is embarked on a week long trip apparently to assure the American public that "spying is necessary" in time of "war." First, we are not at "war." War has never been announced except by Bush himself. Bush's "war" on Iraq is no more meaningful than the "war on drugs," the "war on poverty," or the "war on bedbugs" (if you haven't noticed, bedbugs have become a serious problem under the Bush administration along with everything else). The fact is, no one disputes that spying is necessary in time of war. And even now, although we are not at war, spying is no doubt necessary when confronting terrorism. That is not an issue. The issue is, is ILLEGAL spying necessary? The answer is clearly no. There are procedures for spying that apply which have been totally ignored by Bush, who seems to believe that as "Commander in Chief" he has the authority to ignore any laws he wishes. In short, during times of war, he is a dictator. I doubt very much that this is going to fly. It might, as I gather the Democrats have yet to understand the problem, let alone deal with it.

And ho-hum, the White House is lying again. Bush doesn't remember knowing Abramoff, and yes, Abramoff may have been in the White House for Christmas parties or something, and yes, he may have had his picture taken with Bush, but Bush has had his picture taken with hundreds, maybe thousands of people, and he doesn't really know him, and blah, blah, blah. But how many people has Bush commented about both of them having twins? And, oh, yes, Abramoff was a Bush "pioneer," raising tons of mony for someone he never met? Especially when he arranged meetings between Bush and American Indians at $25,000 each? Bush didn't know Ken Lay either (see below).

Craig Murray, the ex British Ambassador to Uzbekistan, is a participant in the second Commission on the War Crimes of the Bush Administration (I'm not sure that is exactly what it is called) in New York. During his presentation, among other things, he displayed a letter to George W. Bush, Governor of Texas, written by no other than Ken Lay. The Governor of Texas was lined out and above was written simply, "George." I did not see exactly what the letter said but I know it began something like, "You will be receiving a visit from a delegation from Uzbekistan. We (Enron) have recently opened an office in Tashkent and are negotiating a two billion dollar oil deal." This revealing letter would seem to indicate that a man who Bush claimed supported his rival for the Governorship of Texas (a blatant lie), and who he claimed not to know (another blatant lie), addressed him as "George" and asked (or, it appears, rather directed him) to deal with the Uzbekistans. Perhaps this gives a clue as to how it is the CIA is involved with the Uzbekisan secret police in torturing people to get the information they want about opponents of the Dictatorial regime and about members of al-Qaeda. Murray reports than when he objected to the torturing he was told the official policy was, "if we did not do the torturing, and if we did not order the torturing, there is no reason we should not accept the information." I guess the fact that such information was most probably useless didn't bother anyone (this, of course, completely ignores the terrible moral and ethical implications involved).

The U.S. has apparently spent at least two million trying to influence the Palestian elections. We wish to guarantee a democratic election - except, of course, if Hamas wins, which we have announced we will not recognize. Ah, democracy. We also want to promote democracy in South America, unless, of course, Chavez wins two elections by democratic landslides and we try to engineer a coup to overturn them. Ah, democracy. Then there is the ongoing case of Haiti where we overturned a democratically elected President and are now trying to engineer a new government of our choosing. Ah, democracy. But never forget: we are good, they are bad. If you are not with us you are against us. Black is white. Up is down. Bad is good. We are always right and everyone else on earth is wrong.

Sunday, January 22, 2006

Will anything actually happen?

Senators Kennedy and Leahy have made it clear they wish to have an investigation into the Bush/Cheney use of warrantless spying, which they believe is illegal and unconstitional. Even McCain, who has been photographed actually hugging our nitwit President, thinks the spying is probably illegal. So do Graham, Barr, Spector, and probably others. Do you believe anything will come of this? It probably is illegal and unconstitutional but they will no doubt fall back on their "we thought it was" argument. Like, we thought they had WMD's, we thought they were a threat, etc.,etc. Fact is, of course, they didn't think that. They knew perfectly well there were no WMD's, just as they know perfectly well they had no legal right to warrantless wiretapping. Does it surprise anyone to learn they lie? Constantly. Indeed, always. Will they get away with it again. Probably, if the Democrats have anything to do with it. Democrats who lack the backbone to even filibuster Alito who carries with him the ability to convert our democracy into a dictatorship.

Molly Ivins, bless her, wrote a piece in which she said she would not support Hillary Clinton. I gather this raised some eyebrows. I don't know why. How could anyone support Hillary at this point? Hillary wants more troops in Iraq. She wants to attack Iran. She wants to protect Israel. She wants permanent bases in Iraq. And the straw that breaks the camel's back, she has joined the completely moronic don't burn the flag bunch. Hillary is like the High School girl standing around the jocks trying to prove she is just as macho as they are. Pathetic. She has already blown any chance of getting the nomination. But let people like Laura continue to fantasize about a Condi Rice, Hillary contest. Why not, it wouldn't be much more ridiculous than running George W. Bush for President, the most unprepared, unqualified, ill-informed, mindless, and uninterested candidate in history. Just let Dick the Slimy do it, I'm cutting brush on my pig farm pretend ranch.

Now we have another beautiful example of American hypocrisy. The Pentagon, or the Department of Defense, or whomever, are upset that Venezuela wants to spend a hundred million dollars or so buying planes from Spain and also a bit of money to buy some rifles. This complaint/objection comes from a nation that is currently spending 442 billion dollars on defense!!!! It is truly hard to believe these people are real. The phrase "get a life" comes to mind. If you are not already aware of it, the inmates are now in charge of the asylum. Sleep tight.

Saturday, January 21, 2006

Apologies and comments

I apologize! Let me explain. Morialekafa was receiving quite a lot of spam comments. In an attempt to stop the spam I inadvertently also created a situation in which no one could comment on Morialekafa unless they belonged to the blog. So for quite some time now I have been getting zero comments. While I never received a lot of comments it was unusual that I was receiving virtually none. I believe this situation has now been resolved and as far as I know anyone should now be able to comment. And I hope they will as I truly miss the comments.

Although I could not bring myself to look into the defense budget yesterday, today I learned that the actual sum is four hundred forty two billion dollars (442 billion). As I knew, this is larger than all of the defense budgets of all of the other countries on earth. Are we preparing to war against all other countries on earth? Perhaps we are preparing for an invasion from outer space? More likely we are just plain and simply insane. There is no explanation for this other than the absolute greed of corporations and members of the administration who control the purse strings. Anyone who doubts that we are at the mercy of a military-industrial complex that is blatantly wasting taxpayer money on military projects with virtually no purpose is just simply asleep. I repeat, this is obscene! Unnecessary! Stupid! Foolish! Ridiculous! Absurd! I have no doubt we could easily do with half this amount and perhaps even less. And think what we might do with all that money. I can't think about it. It makes me sick.

The White House is claiming that Bush doesn't even know Abramoff. They say he might have attended a couple of Christmas parties or something. They are of course trying desperately to distance the White House, and especially Bush, from this toxic lobbyist. It turns out, however, there are at least five photos of Bush with Abramoff, shaking his hand, and whatever. Remember, Bush didn't know Ken Lay either. How much longer are people going to put up with this absolutely blatant lying?

Under pressure from the public (I guess from the public as no one else seemed to be much concerned) the Pentagon has ordered 70 million dollars worth of body armor. Don't you think this is a little late? I mean it's never too late to try to help the troops but, really, after all this time they are just now ordering body armor? Rumsfeld is the most hopeless incompetent Secretary of Defense in history. He should have been fired years ago. I guess Bush/Cheney are waiting for him to destroy our military so completely it can never recover. Oh, I forget, things are going well in Iraq and Afghanistan. Silly me.

We are all learning now about the concept of the "unitary executive," otherwise known as the American Dictator. Alito is going to come on board the Supreme Court to insure that this will happen. The Democrats apparently don't care. A few of them say they will vote against his confirmation. But it is perfectly obvious that voting against him will amount to nothing. Apparently they will not filibuster, being afraid they might be accused of actually having some decency and interest in the well-being of the American public and democracy. I don't know about you, but I don't enjoy living in a one party theocracy. Be prepared to show your papers on demand.

On the local scene: The local Democractic fundraiser last night, in spite of very inclement weather, was a resounding success. More people turned out than ever before and a substantial amount of money was raised. I'm not certain these people were all Democrats but the ones that might not have been were surely Bush haters. I believe that even here in Idaho, the most Republican state in the Union, we may have a real chance at last to elect some Democrats. Vote Brady for Governor. Vote Grant for the House.

Friday, January 20, 2006

The strange case of Osama bin Laden

I realized today that I have reached the rock bottomn of depression over the state of this administration and the world. There was an article on entitled "How Large is the Defense Budget." While I don't know how large it is precisely, I do know it is larger than all the rest of the world's defense budgets combined. I knew I would not be able to even read about it and it has continued to depress me all day. Our defense budget is absolutely indefensible. It is obscene. It is insane. And for what? To produce huge profits for companies to manufacture items we will never, ever, need. We are at the mercy of an enormous military-industrial complex that we were warned about - but obviously didn't listen.

What is with Osama bin Laden? How is it he has never been captured, even though he has presumably been pursued by the greatest military organization in the world, plus help from many other countries, including Pakistan where he may, in fact, be living. This makes no sense to me. And how is it that he surfaces at just the right moment to help George W. Bush? Remember, last time he surfaced just before the election. And now, with Bush suffering from one scandal and problem after another, he surfaces again to remind the world that he is still alive and operating his terrorist base. This can only help Bush who will use it to argue how it is that we are under imminent attack from terrorists, only Republicans can defend us, and blah, blah, blah, bs.

I guess one could argue that bin Laden wants to keep Bush in power as he is such a numbskull and plays always right into bin Laden's hands. That is an argument that makes some sense to me. But what if bin Laden is in fact a deliberate player in the ongoing international scene? He must have been at one time a CIA "asset" (when they were fighting the Russians with our support). What if he is still a CIA asset? That would certainly explain why he has never been captured. And he would be playing an important part in keeping the Bush administration in power. And given the massive drug trade internationally, the pipeline problems in that part of the world, the involvement of American corporations with billions of dollars at stake, he may be an important player in all that as well. How about the attack of 9/11 that promoted Bush from a nonentity president to his glorious "war president" status?

I confess I don't usually think this way. I have never been a conspiracy buff. But after five years of the Bush/Cheney administration I fear I am prepared to believe anything. Having been fed nothing but lies endlessly, unprecedented secrecy, vicious attacks on anyone who even questioned this criminal enterprise, nothing, absolutely nothing would surprise me.

On the local scene: Tonight is the local Democratic party and fundraiser. It has been snowing all day. I fear it will affect the turnout. Perhaps not. Someone named David Weigel with predicts that "Butch" Otter is going to win the Idaho governership by a landslide. He thinks this because Otter opposed the Patriot Act (along with Larry Craig), that somehow this will make him a local hero. I suspect Weigel doesn't know much about the situation here in Idaho. Otter might win but I doubt it will be a landslide. Personally, I think he won't win. Brady is a strong candidate. Vote Brady for Idaho!

Thursday, January 19, 2006

From petty to monstrous

How petty can you get? There is supposed to be some kind of international baseball tournament but Cuba, which quite likely has the best baseball team on earth, is not going to be allowed to play. I guess that will teach those Commies not to fool around with the greatest military power on earth. I mean, Cuba is just sitting there preparing to invade the U.S., and I bet this boycott will make them just angry enough to do it. So prepare yourself for an imminent "war" with Cuba over this monumental problem.

They won't stop with Cuba. Just watch. They're going to prohibit Iran's soccer team from international competition as well. That'll teach them a thing or two. Don't mess with U.S. or pay the consequences. If this kind of thing doesn't strike you as absolutely absurd you are just not thinking. Never try to reach out in friendship to anyone when you can just bomb them off the face of the earth. Why bomb them? Because they won't do exactly what we want them to do.

If you didn't watch Democracy Now today you missed it. Most of the time was taken up by an interview with Craig Murray, the ex British Ambassador to Uzbekistan. Murray was fired from that post because he spoke out and told the truth about what an absolutely murderous, torturing country it is. And all with the complete cooperation of the CIA. This is not merely his opinion, he has memos and evidence that prove it. Abu Ghraib seems to be small potatoes compared to the Uzbekistanis. But Bush and Karimov, the Uzbekistan dictator, seem to be buddies from the time Bush was Governor of Texas. And oh, by the way, Ken Lay and Enron were involved in this big time. Surprised? The irony of all this is that eventually Karimov signed a deal with the Russians for natural gas, and one of the provision of that deal was that the U.S. had to go. So Karimov kicked us out. The Bush administration claims we left because of human rights violations. The Bush/Cheney administration is the most vile, hypocritical, inhuman, dishonest, corrupt U.S. administration ever, and obviously incompetent to boot.

It is almost certainly going to stay that way if we have to depend upon Democrats like Biden and Feinstein who say they will not filibuster. If Alito should not be filibustered, who ever should? He is going to see to it that the Presidency becomes a dictatorship while the other two branches of government simply wither away. All hail Bush! King Bush the First. Actually, he might be better qualified as King than President. After all, Presidents are supposed to be somewhat competent whereas Kings can be as moronic and stupid as they wish, even insane.

Wednesday, January 18, 2006

More stonewalling

It is clear that Abramoff had extensive and direct ties to the White House. But of course the White House is refusing to provide any information about how he acquired access, how many meetings, with whom, and etc. The classic White House procedure when threatened with having to confess to anything. They always assume, and so far usually prove correct, that the attention span of the public is so short they will soon forget and this will gradually disappear just like Gannon/Guckert and others. We don't have to worry about the attention span of the MSM as they will refuse to even acknowledge the problem.

Hooray for Max Baucus, Democratic Senator from Montana, who has announced that he will not vote for Alito in spite of his impeccable credentials. Alito, Baucus says, is not good for Montana and not good for the country.

Bobb Barr, Grover Nordquist, and a number of other right wingers have apparently demanded an investigation of Bush's attempts to wiretap and spy without proper warrants. They claim to be very upset about what is going on. Let us sincerely hope they are serious about this and not just putting us on.

And isn't it interesting that at the very moment there are lawsuits and serious questions about Bush's attempt to assume dictatorial powers the Republicans are trying to hurry up the vote to install Alito, who is already known to have sided with the idea of Presidential power. Lunacy, I say. And if the Democrats don't filibuster in this clear cut case I fear all may be lost. Don't bet they will.

I remind you again that Al Gore, who has served his country honorably all of his adult life, as a Congressman, Senator, and Vice President, gave a major speech questioning the present administration's attempt to grab unwarranted and unconstitutional powers, and was completely ignored by the main stream media. I find this disgusting beyond belief. The MSM have continued to marginalize anyone who speaks out against Bush/Cheney. What do you hear from the MSM about Dean? Roberts? Gore? Kusinich? The MSM is enemy number one as far as democracy is concerned. No democracy can flourish or succeed without an informed public. The so-called fourth estate in the U.S. has failed us miserably and unconscionably. Protect the internet at all costs, it is about all that's left.

Tuesday, January 17, 2006

Attack of the Mental Midgets

Al Gore gave a marvelous speech on Martin Luther King Day in which he spelled out in no uncertain terms where the Bush Administration is trying to lead the country. That is, into a dictatorship with all power vested in the Executive. Forget checks and balances. Forget three separate but equal branches of government. All power to the President. In an effort to protect the Constitution and the American People Gore suggested we need an Independent Investigator to examine the legal ramifications of where Bush/Cheney are trying to go with this. The response from Republicans:

"Gore is more interested in desperately trying to get attention than he is in focusing on the facts of the law." This from Ken Mehlman, Chairman of the Republican Party. He also added that the President does have this authority.

From a spokeswoman for the Republican Party, Tracey Schmitt: "Al Gore's incessant need to insert himself in the headlines of the day is almost as glaring as his lack of understanding of the threats facing America."

It is virtually impossible for me to understand the complete idiocy that underlies these remarks. Al Gore has spent his entire adult life in the service of his country. He was a Congressman, a Senator, and for eight years the Vice President of the United States. He was, in fact, the legally elected President in 2000. He has no right to insert himself...? Who in the hell is this stupid twit? And what gives her any right whatsoever to denigrate someone as distinguished as Al Gore who, at this point, should be considered a National Treasure. I have noticed over the past few years that the Republican Party has somehow recruited a large number of female supporters and spokespersons with a collective I.Q., if you could total it, of perhaps 40 (that is perhaps too generous). Mehlman, of course, has already distinguished himself as the most mindless partisan of all time. Mehlman and Schmitt together wouldn't constitute a pimple on the ass of someone like Al Gore and they should keep their ridiculous blather to themselves or each other.

Our so-called Attorney General is no better. He has already asserted the President's right to dictatorship even before the legal questions have been examined. A real objective non-partisan view similar to Bush's claim that DeLay is innocent before a trial. These guys are real winners in a race to see who can be the most despicable. Someone said, you get the leaders you deserve. The American people did just that.

On the local scene: Clemont Leroy Otter, otherwise known as "Butch," aspires to be the next governor of Idaho. A divorced father of four, his credentials include a DUI, winning a bar's "tight fitting jeans contest," a $50,000 fine for violating the clean water act, a "chummy" speech to a militia group, and a $15,000 gift from none other than Tom DeLay, whom he has supported unreservably (He has also voted with DeLay 88% of the time). His latest move has been to support the idea of selling off 15% of Idaho land to, get this, pay off the Katrina debt. An absolutely marvelous idea. So good, in fact, that I suggest we sell off all the rest of Idaho to pay for reconstruction in Iraq. What a noble motive! You think it might just have something to do with selling off some choice Idaho land to his rich developer friends? Naw, Butch wouldn't do anything like that. It wouldn't be Cowboy-like.

On the positive side Butch...actually I can't think of any significant positive thing he's ever done for the State of Idaho. If someone knows of one please advise me. I just love politics, don't you?

Monday, January 16, 2006

Does Larry Craig have a brain?

Larry Craig, our senior Idaho Senator, recently gave a speech in Boise (I assume to a bunch of other Republican morons) in which he assailed the "liberal mainstream media." If he believes in such a media he must be idiotic beyond belief. If he knows better but is just playing to his Idaho Republicans (who wouldn't know a liberal mainstream media from a potato disease) he is being totally dishonest. Of course for someone who still believes we are going to find WMD's in Iraq what more might you expect? Unfortunately, he does seem to represent the citizens of the State of Idaho (at least as they were back in 1850). He also railed against Democratic "expensive ideas," like universal health care and higher education. My god, why should we spend money on such ridiculous things when we have to spend more money on defense than all other nations on earth put together, to say nothing of our "war" in Iraq that is such a resounding success? Larry Craig is so out of touch with reality he will no doubt continue to represent Idaho until it remains the only Republican State in the Union. As well as the only place on earth that believes WMD's are still hidden in Iraq, Sadam was in cahoots with Osama, and the earth is flat as hell.

Al Gore gave an excellent speech today (on Cspan, as none of the liberal MSM were interested) in which he outlined the problem of growing Executive power in no uncertain terms. He made it crystal clear what the threat is to our Democracy and Constitution and called for a special Independent Investigation (fat chance, I guess). Can you believe that this good man, probably the most highly qualified candidate ever for the Presidency, was passed over for the utter moron that was anointed by the (dishonest partisan Supreme Court)? This has to be one of the greatest tragedies of all time. We are in truth experiencing a genuine Constitutional crisis. Always in the past Democracy has prevailed when encountering such crises. Can it do so again, or are we doomed to live under a dictatorship? As Gore made clear, it is up to us, the American people. I say IMPEACHMENT NOW! With war crimes trials to follow.

Sunday, January 15, 2006

Fellow Travelers

Although it is not completely certain as yet what Democrats may do with the Alito nomination, it is a pretty good bet they are going to do nothing. Supposedly they will meet this coming week to discuss their strategy but at the moment filibuster does not seem one of the options. If they do not filibuster and allow Alito to be confirmed they will be saying they basically are in favor of an Imperial Presidency - a virtual dictatorship. If this happens it will be all over for dissenters, those treasonous souls who are aiding and abetting the enemy by criticizing Bush's insane foreign policy and the "war" in Iraq. In short, they will be "Fellow Travelers," the label we formerly applied to communist sympathizers. Never mind Roe vs Wade, Republicans, for the most part, are no more interested in overturning Roe vs Wade, than Democrats. The danger is an Imperial Presidency and Alito has made it clear he subscribes to such a situation. As it perfectly obvious this is what the Republicans are trying to bring about, we should have no doubt whatsoever about opposing Alito's confirmation. Alito's credentials be damned, he is obviously a wolf in sheep's clothing and we know exactly what he has in mind. If the spineless Democrats don't stop this now it will quite likely be too late.

Of course it might already be too late. Bush/Cheney have already come dangerously close to destroying our country completely. We will soon be bankrupt if the Chinese, Japanese, and Europeans decide to "cash in their chips" and turn to Euros instead of dollars. And we are already persona non grata in virtually the whole world with respect to our foreign policy. Rumsfeld, that totally incompetent if not senile old man has just about destroyed our military. Cheney the Evil has managed to completely destroy any moral standing or good will we might have had. South America is in active rebellion against our rapacious "free market economy" that has kept them in poverty for so long. Iran is rightfully thumbing their nose at us, Iraq is a total disaster about to accelerate the already existing civil war, a majority of U.S. citizens have turned against Bush/Cheney but so far have been helpless to do anything, the Democratic "leadership" is no more than a bad joke. There is increasing sentiment for impeachment at the grass roots level which the MSM is ignoring, the scandals which exist everywhere there are Republicans are as usual being ignored, hoping like others in the past will just go away. We desperately need someone from "The Planet Krypton" to arrive and save us from ourselves. Probably the closest thing to it will be Al Gore, our honestly elected and illegally denied officeholder. Be sure to tune in to his speech tomorrow. And continue to hope for miracles, it's all we have left.

Saturday, January 14, 2006

Laughter, the best medicine?

"A husband and wife were getting ready for bed. The wife was standing in front of a full-length mirror taking a hard look at herself. 'You know dear,' she said, 'I look in the mirror, and I see an old woman. My face is all wrinkled; my hair is gray; my shoulders are hunched over; I've got fat legs; and my arms are all flabby.' She turned to her husband and said, 'Tell me something positive to make me feel better about myself.'
He studied hard for a moment thinking about it and then said in a soft, thoughtful voice, 'Well, there's nothing wrong with your eyesight.'
Cribbed from the Bonners Ferry Brief, 1-9-06.

Funny, right? Well you should know that the Pentagon thinks laughter is very important. So important they have employed a laughter expert, "Scotty Scott," to promote "mirth as medicine." He does this presumably to "prevent hardening of the attitudes." He, and at least one other, are telling the parents of missing or dead soldiers they should learn to "laugh for no reason." Laughter is good and makes people feel better.

How could one argue with this? Just imagine the opportunities for laughter available at the present time. "Did you see the look on their faces when we told them their son had been killed in Iraq? They looked absolutely dumbfounded, sort of like Stan Laurel used to look in those early Laurel and Hardy things. Really stupid, you know, like they just didn't get it. Of course after we explained that when the Humvee was blown over and they were trying to escape it was really sort of like the Keystone Cops. You know, they hopped out of the burning vehicle and started running all over the place. As there was no water they just had to roll around in the sand trying to put out the flames on their clothes. It was hilarious! Three guys rolling around in the sand, getting in each other's way, they looked like the Three Stooges. It was soooo funny!

Even better though, remember the two guys we pushed off the bridge into the river, and they didn't know how to swim? God, that was funny. They just kept flailing away trying to get out but didn't have a clue how to do it. And those funny nightgowns and turbans they were wearing got all waterlogged and wrapped around the while they just started to sink. Served them right for not wearing decent clothes.

The best of all, though, was raping those boys in front of their parents. Man, did you ever hear anything like that before? All that screaming and begging for mercy? I mean, its not as if they didn't go around buggering each other all the time. I hadn't heard anything like that since grandma got her tit caught in the wringer. You know, people are really funny about such things. And when we piled them up on each other, you'd think they never saw naked people before.

It's strange that people don't really understand humor. Humor simply transcends everything else, just like the Pentagon says. Just laugh for no reason. It makes you feel better. Of course it helps if you have really funny situations, you know, like slapstick. I bet you could make a really funny movie about transporting children to the gas chambers if you had a bunch of old buses and some eccentric bus drivers that ran out of gas while pointing out the charms of Bavaria before delivering their cargo to Buchenwald or wherever.

I guess maybe the funniest sight of all might be when the white phosphorous starts to fall and everyone starts running in all directions, stumbling and falling and trying to run over everyone else to escape. Talk about Keystone Cops! And you know that most of them have no chance to escape. That is really funny. I guess that must be what Rumsfeld was laughing about in his picture on this morning.

Anyway, just remember to laugh for no reason. If you find that difficult the Pentagon will provide you with a laugh instructor (but probably only if you are a Republican). Democrats, like me, have no real sense of humor.

Friday, January 13, 2006

Roviating Murtha

The Republican sleaze and slime machine is at it again. Now they are trying to roviate Murtha because he has come out for withdrawal from Iraq (apparently with the blessing of many of the senior Generals who cannot publicly do this themselves). The White House has actually called many of the Generals and asked them to repudiate Murtha but to their credit most of them have apparently refused. Not so all, however, and there are those who are attempting to discredit Murtha's purple hearts and other awards. This is the Swift Boats crap all over again. Why are they doing this? Because this is the way the Republican Party operates, positively Rovian. I doubt there is any real question about Murtha's medals but even if there were, what in the hell difference would it make now? Murtha is right. Iraq has proven to be a complete disaster and just keeps on getting worse, and will continue to do so until we get out. It's just like the monkey who reaches into the gourd to get the banana and is too stupid and/or greedy to let go and thus gets trapped by its own greed. Bush/Cheney and the neocons are never going to give up Iraq as long as there is a gallon of oil to be filched. We are building the world's most expensive consulate and four permanent bases in Iraq. Talk of withdrawing our troops is just nonsense, although there is little doubt they will withdraw some troops before the coming elections. The permanent presence of U.S. troops means permanent conflict just as in the case of Israel and Palestine.

Al Gore is scheduled to make a major speech on monday in which he will discuss how the Bush/Cheney administration has seriously and illegally overreached their authority, claiming the right to do things they have no right to do. If Gore had been given the Presidency which he rightfully won do you think we'd be in the terrible mess we are now in. No way! Personally, I believe Bush/Cheney should be forced to resign in favor of installing Gore who won the election. At the very least they should be impeached and tried for war crimes.

The Democrats are apparently meeting next week to decide on a strategy for the Alito nomination. They need to do whatever is necessary to block his appointment even if that means a filibuster. We cannot risk Alito on the Supreme Court, not because of Roe vs Wade (which I don't believe the Republicans truly want reversed), but because of his belief in an Imperial Presidency. This has got to be stopped now. Congress simply cannot give up their rightful duties and obligations to a dictatorship no matter what.

Thursday, January 12, 2006

Filibuster or die

It appears to me that Alito is pretty obviously a wolf in sheep's clothing. While he comes across as a thoughtful, reasonable, personable, and intelligent candidate, it is obvious from his record that he is in the camp of the Imperial President faction. It is also pretty obvious that he isn't much into civil rights, preferring Presidential and Corporate rights instead. He will be a disaster on the Supreme Court and certainly cannot be depended upon to unphold Roe vs Wade. The Democrats have not been able to truly penetrate his defense of his questionable record and I believe will have no chance to defeat his candidacy short of a full blown filibuster (which I rather doubt they will have the backbone to carry out - I sincerely hope I am wrong). Given the fact that the Republicans have made no secret of wanting an ultra-conservative Supreme Court Justice, and given the backing of Falwell, Robertson, and the other nitwit fundamentalists, it would seem very clear that Alito should be shunned without reservation by the rest of us. But the Senate has shown little more respect for the people than Bush/Cheney so anything might happen. If they capitulate on this, however, we will know that the Fascists have won and we will live only at the discretion of King George. Sieg Heil!

One of the things I found most interesting during the hearings was the discussion of whether or not Judges should look toward foreign law for help. Alito rather outspokenly said they should definitely not. I love the assumption here that obviously foreign law could not possibly have anything of merit to offer the U.S. We are, after all, the supreme fount of all knowledge and law. No one else could possibly have anything to offer us. I think this is a perfect example of Alito's approach to our laws and culture. Whatever white American males think and say is right, is right. Princeton is not to be diluted by women and minorities. We have to keep it like it was back in the 40's and 50's (all white, all male). Oh, I forgot, Alito says he can't remember being involved in this racist, sexist, ultra-conservative organization. Interestingly enough, he seems to remember in great detail most of the opinions he wrote, especially those he knew he would be asked about.

At the present time, when there is increasing talk of impeachment, and the Republican Party is imploding because of the blatant corruption of many of its members, it would seem to me the height of folly to appoint Alito the Court where he would be able to act on behalf of the Imperial Presidency. The Democrats cannot allow this appointment to be made no matter how Republicans bitch and moan. Indeed, if there were any honest and responsible Republicans they would themselves not allow this to happen. When was the last time you saw or heard of an honest and responsible Republican? Oh, yeah, when they impeached Clinton for a private sex act between two consenting adults. Certainly not for a President and Vice-President who blatantly lied us into a phony "war" that has unnecessarily killed, tortured, and maimed thousands of mostly innocent people. We certainly don't need a Supreme Court to defend these war criminals. Say no, no, no to Alito.

Wednesday, January 11, 2006

Yosio - short story

I fear Alito is going to be confirmed. I hope I am wrong. Here is another short story to take your mind away from this travesty.

February 2:
I have been living here in the village for exactly one month and in my new house for one day. It's a fine little house with the floor and walls made of woven cane and a roof thatched with grass. It's going to be quite comfortable. There is a large kitchen area with a built in table, a nook for my desk and typewriter, a small bedroom and another nook for the bucket shower. Almost the entire population of the village is presently standing outside watching everything I do. So far everything has gone well and they seem very friendly. I remember Professor Read's last words before I left: "Remember, they really are savages you know."
Strange, but they don't seem like savages. In most respects they seem to me very much like people I know back home. It's true they're still in their traditional dress and mostly naked. And they don't bathe often. And they still carry their bows and arrows everywhere. The villages and the womens' houses are still inhabited by dogs and pigs as well as women and children and there are animal feces strewn everywhere. The water is filthy and you dare not drink it unless it is boiled. Of course they drink it. Even so, except for their teeth they seem remarkably healthy. A few of them even have nice teeth. I must get started on the language. In the meanwhile Pidgin English seems to work pretty well.
February 5:
Change has affected them in strange ways. They are no longer cannibals (although I think some further back in the "bush" may still be) and they are not constantly fighting as they were before pacification. The last male initiation was held four years ago. They are due for another but say they won't do it anymore (we'll see). Other than that they seem to still practice most or all of their traditional customs. They certainly do things that most Europeans would find repugnant. For example, this morning I saw a woman suckling a piglet just as though it were a child. Having the pigs in the houses is not so charming either. They have no toilets but just squat down out in the grass and assume the pigs will clean it up (which they do). Some of the children are literally covered with sores which I'm certain would go away if they were properly bathed. The children have constantly running noses. Even so, I think they are nice people: friendly, helpful, and certainly fascinating. One simply has to remain objective.
February 10:
I am really quite pleased with my house and the vantage point we have from this ridgetop. Sitting outside on my little patio last night I looked directly across at Mt. Michael. There were storms with great bolts of lightning striking all around the top of it. Much better than TV! During the day I look out across the valley floor. It is quite beautiful with the rolling grasslands dotted here and there with stands of casuarinas and bamboo. You know when you see the casuarinas there are people because they have to bring the seedlings from the river and plant them by hand. The river winds through the middle of the valley and on the far side the montains tower over everything. There are so many different shades of green and the sky is so incredibly blue the scene is almost artificial. It must have to do with the light and the air which is so unbelievably clear. No one could ask for better surroundings.
This new Council system has them confused. The newly elected Councilor thinks they need to meet every morning so he can tell them what to do. He doesn't really have the authority to do this, nor can I see any particular need for it. They all know exactly what they have to do - work in their gardens, build fences, look after pigs, etc. The only thing the Councilor needs to worry about is getting them to work on the road one day a week (and they are very resistant to this). Actually, it works to my advantage, as they all gather in front of my house every morning - a great opportunity to observe all kinds of things. It will be interesting to see if these meetings continue for very long or if the people will eventually rebel and stop coming (which I predict will happen).
Vississe was here this morning with his two-year-old daughter, Yosimi, holding her on his lap and being extremely nurturant and loving. She is a beautiful little girl with clear chocolate skin and unusually large brown eyes. She adores her father but is terrified of me. She runs to hide behind him whenever she sees me.
February 20:
Most everyone came to "line" this morning. The Councilor harangued them for a long time about cleaning up the village, fencing it, and keeping the pigs outside (the Patrol Officer instructed him to do this). They don't want to do it of course as their pigs are their most important valuables and naturally they don't want them left out in the grass where they will almost surely be stolen.
I watched Vississe and Yosimi for a time. He calls her Yosio and is extremly demonstrative with her, holding her and kissing her all over. When she cries he immediately picks her up and soothes her, whispering her name and cuddling her in his arms. When she is happy she has a smile that would easily melt ice.
Little boys, unlike the girls, run absolutely wild. No one seems to discipline them at all. This morning a group of them were chasing Katagupa's pig, throwing rocks at it, and trying to catch it. No one, including Katagupa, said a word. I was told yesterday that some of them had pulled all the tail feathers out of Bore's chickens. Yatama, who told me this, thought it was terribly funny. When I asked him what Bore did about it he said, "Nothing. What could he do?"
The meeting broke up earlier than usual this morning. Everyone is working to get their gardens fenced and planted before the rainy season. Men work together fencing and digging garden ditches, women tend to work alone or at least in smaller groups planting and weeding.
March 1:
No "line" this morning. Two of the men are killing and butchering pigs to present gifts of pork to their maternal kinsmen (I don't as yet know exactly what for). They hit the poor creatures on the head with hardwood clubs and seem to delight in making them squeal as much as possible. After taking out the intestines and the backbone they hang the carcass up on a post and singe off the hair with grass torches. They clean out their earth ovens and heat the stones until they are white hot. The pits are lined with grass and banana leaves and they put in sweet potatoes and yams, greens and corn or beans. The pig goes in last on top. The whole thing is then covered with grass and leaves and dirt with a couple of bamboo tubes inserted so they can pour in water to generate the steam. A great way to cook except they don't let it cook long enough. The pork is never completely done. Also, if you watch closely, the entire procedure is totally unsanitary because at the last minute they throw in grass and leaves left over from previous occasions, apparently oblivious to the fact that in the interim dogs and pigs (and perhaps small boys) have urinated and defecated on it. It must work in spite of this as they've been doing it for hundreds of years. It is a bit disconcerting, however, to have someone spit on the sweet potato they are offering you!
Vississe was present the entire time with Yosio. She no longer runs from me but still doesn't allow me to approach too close.
March l2:
As I predicted, people are beginning to skip the morning meetings. I can't blame them as they are totally unnecessary except to give the Councilor a chance to berate them for not cleaning up the village, working on the road, or whatever. Vississe and Yosimi still come pretty faithfully although Vississe's wife no longer comes. When I asked him about it he said she was busy in her garden and didn't have time (sensible!).
Yosio, like all the children here, is given to tantrums. This morning she had a beauty. Vississe tried to hold her but she just squirmed and yelled until he finally put her down and left her alone. She eventually stopped. They never punish their children. If they do something they don't like they simply distract them with something else. Both men and women are terribly fond of their children, the men even more so than the women it appears.
Yesterday, during the butchering, a pig's bladder was given to a boy who played with it just as you would play with a balloon. I also observed two boys playing with a sleeping pig. They played with its penis until it urinated at which point they laughed and one of them kicked it in the belly. Aside from a grunt the pig paid no attention. Boys will be boys. I can't help but like these people in spite of some of the strange things they do.
April l5:
Cultural relativism be damned! I had a terrible experience this morning and I am still disturbed by it. Iron (yes, that's his name) somehow caught a little songbird. He tied a string to its leg and went about playing with it for a long time, releasing it to fly and then jerking in back over and over again. He thought this was very funny. Then, when the bird was too exhausted to fly anymore he built a small fire, plucked the bird (ALIVE!), threw it on the fire for a short time and then proceeded to eat it (WHOLE!). All of this right here in front of me. I couldn't help but be absolutely horrified. Of course I feigned indifference and managed not to say anything but I confess it truly upset me. I thought for a moment I might actually be ill. I have no doubt the children do this often. I've just never seen it before. Aaagh!
Early this morning when I was walking through the village Yosio actually came up and held on to my leg. When I tried to pick her up she started to cry. But I am making progress.
May 2:
Success! Yosio allowed me to pick her up and hold her. She has to be about two and a half but she is so small it is hard to believe. Although I do see her with her mother from time to time she is obviously her father's pet.
These people do have a sense of humor. Today, for example, while we were at the funeral (for the fifth straight day!) two little boys about four were playing with their miniature bows and arrows. There was a large pig nearby. One of the men suggested to the boys that they shoot the pig, which they tried to do. Even though they were only five feet from the animal their tiny arrows either missed or hit the pig and fell harmlessly to the ground. When they both had exhausted their arrows one little boy, obviously frustrated, walked up and hit the pig over the head with his bow. The whole gathering exploded with laughter (in spite of the funeral). Actually the funerals are terribly boring. You just sit there day after day waiting for various kinsmen to arrive to claim their gifts of pork. On these occasions a small ceremony is performed (to placate the ghost) and then you wait again. Fieldwork is mostly like this.
June 3rd:
Yosio comes to me regularly now whenever she sees me, holding out her little arms to be picked up. It's easy to see why Vissise is so captivated by her. I confess I am too. She is so tiny and has the most remarkable smile. Vissise or her mother must bathe her regularly because she is always cleaner than most of the other children. She wanders around from person to person in her little string apron acting very important indeed. They all pick her up and hug her and give her little morsels of food. She is only just now being weaned and is not too happy about it.
Another repulsive custom. I know I shouldn't be saying this what with my vaunted scientific objectivity and all. But really! When they are feasting the women are given the intestines which they wash in the stream and "clean" before cooking. When they come out of the earth oven (underdone as always) an older woman will sometimes carry a length of them to the assembled men (men and women always sit apart). She also carries a sharp bamboo knife. As she approaches each man in turn he is required to bite at the length of intestine and she then slices off a bit so he can eat it. Unfortunately this custom is extended to visitors. And, in a culture where people who eat together are friends and those who don't are enemies it is difficult to decline. I don't know why they do this on some occasions and not others. Sometimes I genuinely hate fieldwork!
August 6:
Most of the people, including the children, have very bad teeth. Lots of cavities. Naturally they don't brush. This morning I observed Kagiya digging with a splinter into a cavity in his son's mouth. He kept at it for quite some time and the boy, obviously in pain, fought back his tears. They are a stoical bunch. Just like last week when Opat split Bulo's head with his axe (a most unusual event that has everyone terribly upset) and cut him badly behind his ear. He displayed no sign of pain whatever even when I cleaned and bandaged it (the bandage, of course, disappeared a half hour later!). They are really quite amazing. In spite of all the things they do that I personally find revolting I still find them likeable. Most of them anyway. And I still believe that underneath this cultural veneer they are basically the same as all other people. I suppose it's true that in some sense they "really are savages," but in many other ways they are really fine people. In the months I have been here nothing has been stolen from me even though my house cannot be locked. They provide me with a constant supply of fruits and vegetables at a very nominal cost. Although it is impossible to make appointments to see them (they only show up when they feel like it which may be a day or two later than you expected), when I do see them they answer my questions patiently no matter how foolish they must sometimes seem to them. They obviously care for their children and each other (but absolutely despise their enemies). There is no crime (within the clan itself). No one goes hungry. There are no orphans. They help each other (and me) faithfully and take good care of the elderly. They are good citizens albeit perhaps of a culture that could stand some improvements. I know I will miss them when I leave. I will certainly miss Yosio whom I have grown genuinely fond of.
September l:
An old woman wandered off into the grass outside the village and died there. The pigs had eaten part of her by the time the body was discovered. This woman was so old no one here knows where she came from. They don't know if she came as a bride or if she is really a clanswoman who returned from her deceased husband's clan. She was ashamed, I was told, because there was no one to kill pigs for her when she died. She tried to raise pigs herself but became too feeble to continue. She gave the pigs to Kagiya's wife. Finally she just wandered off alone to die. The Councilor wrapped her in a dirty piece of cloth and buried her where they found her. Interesting, because they did take care of her. Mumugefa brought her firewood, repaired her old house, and made sure she always had food even though he was not related to her as far as anyone knows. Someone always takes it upon themself to look after an old person or adopt an orphan. No one ever starves. Not bad for "savages."
October 29:
I totally blew it today! I am still so angry I can barely write this. God damn it! They truly are savages! At the moment I can't stand the sight of them. This morning when Vissise came with some bananas he was carrying Yosio. She had rolled into the fire while asleep and burned her foot. BADLY! The flesh is all burned black and the raw flesh is visible. You can even see the bones in a couple of her toes. It is so bad it was all I could do to keep from throwing up. And all this happened THREE DAYS AGO! When I asked that stupid bastard Vissise why he hadn't brought her to me he just shrugged. And he refuses to let me take her to the Aid Post even now. Not that I think much could be done at this point other than perhaps a bandage. In addition to all the damage you can see dirt in the wound. How can he be so goddamn stupid? She is obviously in pain and will certainly lose at least three of her toes. I can't believe it! I can't believe Vissise could possibly be so unconcerned. I completely lost my temper and yelled at him. I told him at the top of my voice he was a dirty savage, a "kanaka tru," among other things. But he seems to think nothing of it. Just sits there as if nothing happened. Doesn't even change the expression on his face. It's true that it happens fairly frequently here but its not usually this bad. Goddamn it! You'd think they would be more concerned about it. I know they love their children. I just don't understand these people. I don't think I ever will. And Yosio just clings to Vissise and buries her little face in his shoulder and weeps.

Tuesday, January 10, 2006

Who to believe

Well, the Alito hearings began. According to Democrats, Alito is the worst thing to come down the pike in a long time. According to Republicans he's the greatest thing since the invention of fire. So who do you want to believe? Kennedy and others claim he is a supporter of an Imperial Presidency, as well as secretly wanting to undo Roe vs Wade. His Republican supporters insist he is an objective and well intentioned Judge who will carry out his duties honestly and fairly. As he has written probably more than 4000 opinions in his 15 years on the bench it is possible to find evidence for either view. As I have learned over the past ten years or so that I cannot believe anything Republicans say I have to go with the Democrats on this one. I think there is no doubt that Alito is a supremely conservative candidate and, as he is much touted and loved by the Falwells and others of that ilk, he has to be truly bad news. He has clearly been well rehearsed and well prepared for this endeavor. He comes across as serious-minded, pleasant, and honest. So beware! At the moment I believe he will probably be confirmed (although my instincts and information tell me he should not be).

Can anyone tell me how it is that the Senate can pass the McCain Amendment outlawing torture at precisely the same time they passed the Graham-Levin Amendment that not only takes away the basic right of habeas corpus but also for all intents and purposes makes the McCain Amendment useless? I confess that our Senators and Congresspersons work in mysterious ways. Of course they always work to support our nitwit President and the Corporations that feed him obscene amounts of money to insure he will continue always to act on their behalf. Corporations + Government = Fascism (ask Mussolini).

There is a website, www.ConvictBush/, that everyone should definitely check out. This is a serious business supported by very well respected people and organizations determined to expose Bush/Cheney's lies and war crimes and see to it they are either impeached or convicted or both. It couldn't happpen to a couple of nicer guys.

Monday, January 09, 2006

There is no law?

Apparently in a debate with Doug Cassel, John Yoo argued there is no law that would prevent the President from torturing a child, even crushing his testicles, if he wished to do so during a time of war. This is of course part of Yoo's argument that as Commander-in-Chief there is nothing the President can't do during wartime. Ignore for the moment that we are not truly at "war," as only Congress can declare war, and consider what the implications of this really are. In our claimed democracy there is supposed to be built in a system of checks and balances. But if the President can set aside any law he wishes, at any time, and for any purpose, what is the point of checks and balances? I'm sorry, but Professor Yoo (how in the hell he ever got a professorship at Berkeley of all places is a mystery to me), is just plain and simply wrong. There is nothing in the Constitution or in American law that says the President could have dictatorial powers in any circumstance. Indeed, this has already been determined by the Supreme Court when Sandra Day O'Conner, writing for the court, said a state of war would not give license to such powers to the President. And, if in our system of checks and balances there is no control over the President, in other countries it must be the same or worse. Thus during wartime there simply is no law, period. This means there is no either local or international law whatsoever. Furthermore, as the argument is that whatever the President does is the law, that also means there is no law. Law is a communal thing. It is something that groups of people have to agree upon. If it is created simply by one person it cannot be a "law." The argument that the President can do whatever he wishes and call it law is simply absurd. No President is above the law. This is not complicated, not difficult to understand. Bush/Cheney's attempt to establish a dictatorial theocracy will simply fail. Unless, of course, the Democrats and the public lets them get away with it. Remember what McCain said when they falsely accused him of fathering a black baby and suggested his mind might have been affected by torture: "politics is not bean bags." This business about Presidental power is definitely not bean bags and you had better be prepared to fight it until it is made clear to Bush/Cheney that they will be lucky to escape long jail terms.

We, the U.S., that is, has stepped up the bombing in Iraq. Today we dropped a bomb on six teenagers and killed them all. Earlier we bombed a house and killed an entire family, father, mother and children. That is bad enough, but what I want to know is why are we bombing them in the first place? What is the point of more or less random bombings? Don't they hate us enough already? I guess the idea is to make it clear we will go ahead with our massive consulate and four permanent bases no matter what they think about it.

Local scene: The local Democrats will have a party and fund raiser on friday, January 20th, at 6:30 in the evening, at the Fairgrounds. Tickets are $10 and will be available at the door as well as from your local representative. Volunteers are needed for setting up and cleaning up. Contact either Linda Langness (267 5680) or Fred at Bear Mechanical (267 5763).

Sunday, January 08, 2006

Shape up or...

Can you believe it? Four Democratic Senators visited Iraq and apparently told them, "either shape up or America will be leaving." At least that is the way it was reported in the news. I'm sure that is not precisely what they said, but apparently they did say that if Iraq doesn't form a broad based national government soon the Americans would probably pull out. This is a threat to Iraq? Nothing they would like more for us to get the hell out of their country. What arrogance! We illegally and immorally attacked their country, killed probably at least one hundred thousand of them, including women and children, totally disrupted their society and culture, are busily trying to steal their oil, establishing permanent bases there, and so on, and our Senators have the gall to insist they should "shape up." Not only that, they had the effrontery to say that we (Americans) are about to "run out of patience." What the hell do they think the Iraqis are about to run out of, with no electricity, water, etc. I don't know about you, but I know what I would tell them if I were an Iraqi. America doubtless will pull out soon, but not because of the failure of the Iraqis to establish a viable administration. We'll get out because we have lost, have exhausted and virtually destroyed our military, and are going bankrupt while "staying the course." This was the most foolish, stupid, idiotic, unnecessary, illegal, immoral, unconstitutional "war" ever conceived. And those responsible for it are war criminals and should be treated as such.

Now we have he case of "Baby Noor." While I think it is wonderful that our soldiers found this little baby who needs medical attention desperately, and arranged for her to be flown to the U.S. for free usually very expensive medical attention, and will thus give her at least a chance to live (she will probably never walk), does no one see the rampant hypocrisy involved? We have killed probably at least one hundred thousand of her countrymen, and at the moment have stepped up our bombing campaign fivefold to kill even more, but we are so compassionate we are trying to help this one little baby? Surely the world is mad.

Howard Dean apparently took Wolf Blitzer to task over the Abramhof scandal. Blitzer, another news toady for the Republicans, tried to insist that this was not a Republican scandal, but that Democrats had been on the take as well. Dean, however, pointed out the truth. Abramhof gave nothing to Democrats. Nothing. A few Democrats did get money from Indian tribes but this money was not linked to Abramhof, it was given directly by the tribes. Blitzer's (and others) attempts to try to lump these donations in with those of Abramhof is just another cheap attempt by the Republicans to obfuscate and deny their "culture of corruption."

Senator Feingold has reportedly said he would not rule out impeachment if it is found that Bush did indeed break the law with respect to the spying without warrants. If someone of his stature is now talking about possible impeachment, and if the Conyers group goes ahead with their investigation, you know we might be finally getting close to something. I like Feingold. And I don't care if he is a Jew. What I would care about is if he is an uncritical supporter of Israel who would do nothing to improve the lot of the Palestinians and would allow the Israelis to continue stealing Palestinian land and water. Until some American President is allowed to curb the Israelis there will never be peace in the Middle East.

Tomorrow the fireworks will begin over the Alito nomination. There is no way the Democrats should accede to this appointment. He may be a fine legal mind but he is obviously the candidate of the far right fundamentalists who believe they can dictate what they believe to all the rest of us. I think this is not going to be any fun.

Saturday, January 07, 2006

The Lost One - brief book review

I have just finished the second of a number of books I received for Christmas. The Lost One, A Life of Peter Lorre by Stephen D. Youngkin (University Press of Kentucky). As biographies go this is fairly typical, being a chronological account of Lorre's life pretty much from birth to death. It is quite thorough and about as detailed as such works are, perhaps a bit more detailed than most. The author clearly spent a great deal of time and effort reviewing the professional career of Lorre and interviewing a great many people who knew and worked with him. As one might have surmised Peter Lorre was far more complicated than the image most of us have of him. He was not at all like the murderous stereotyped character he was forced to play by the media and the film industry. In addition to being an exceedingly accomplished if mostly unappreciated actor, he was also an intellectual, a practical joker, and a man blessed with a marvelous sense of humor. Addicted to morphine from a relatively early age he struggled with the problem all his life, and while it did not keep him from pursuing an unusually active and busy career it did at times force him into hospitals and sanitariums for "cures." Although he took eagerly to the Southern California lifestyle and Hollywood he was well aware of the shallowness and pretensioness of the industry. He worked for the money which he seemed unable to hang on to for long and, of course, died broke. I think what I came away with is the appreciation that he was a remarkably fine and talented human being who was much abused by the "business." Driven out of Germany and away from his friend and mentor, Bertolt Brecht, I'm sure he wished it had not been so. This is a fine biography and if you have any interest in such things I recommend it. Even the finest biographies regretfully can tell us only the high and low spots of someone's life, much like trying to comprehend a human body from a mere fingerprint. You must appreciate what you are given.

The small California coastal town of Arcada passed a resolution calling for the impeachment or resignations of Bush/Cheney. See, there really are some intelligent and responsible people. Too bad they seem to be so few. But things are, at last, looking up a bit. DeLay is finished as a leader and quite likely even as a Congressman. Cunningham apparently wore a "wire" which will no doubt help implicate others in this ongoing Republican scandal (don't buy into the claim that it was bipartisan, it was overwhelmingly Republican). And don't believe even for a moment that what Bush did was legal. Keep the pressure on until they all end up in jail where they rightfully belong.

Friday, January 06, 2006

Getting somewhere?

Are we at last perhaps actually beginning to "get somewhere?" Senators Warner, McCain and Graham have indicated they are not going to roll over for Bush's claim he does not have to follow the McCain amendment regarding torture. When Bush signed the amendment he also executed what is known as a "signing document." While this is not a legal document, it is an indication of how the President views this matter. And he views it as something he can completely disregard if he feels like it. This is another claim on absolute power by the President. So now there is a direct conflict between the Senate and the President over the extent of Presidential power (the President is going to eventually lose but no doubt after weeks if not months of controversy, effectively keeping any other important business from being considered). Does Bush really believe that McCain, having fought so hard for this amendment which passed something like 92 to 6 (or some such figure) is going to just stand by and let him claim he doesn't have to obey it? Now the battle is truly joined. Stay tuned for the fun.

Pat Robertson, the senile and idiotic "leader" of a least some so-called "Christians," is at it again. It is now reaching the point where one has to wonder if he is even sane. His latest foray into something that is not his business in the first place has to do with Sharon's massive stroke. According to Robertson this stroke was God's punishment for Sharon trying to divide up "God's land." That is, withdrawing from the Gaza strip. God, according to Robertson doesn't like it when someone tries to divide up his land. I guess this has nothing to do with the fact that Robertson and his cronies want Israel to sell them (or perhaps give them) 35 acres or so where they can establish "Jesusland." This is going to be a theme park featuring, I guess, walking on water, feeding hundreds on a loaf of bread, perhaps parting the waters, and such things. No doubt it will be a non-profit enterprise devoted entirely to the worship of Jesus. Would someone tell me how these people keep escaping insane asylums?

Alito comes up next week for confirmation for the Supreme Court. From what is now known about Alito it would seem that he is singularly inappropriate for such a position. Not only is he on record as being opposed to abortion, he is also on record as favoring an Imperial Presidency (just what we need at the very moment that Presidential powers are an exceedingly contentious issue). So far there is no indication that he will not be confirmed although there is some very remote possibility the Democrats may filibuster. But why is he being allowed to come up at all at the moment, given the current problems with the Bush/Cheney administration? Surely we ought to be able to wait until we know whether Bush/Cheney are going to survive the next year or two. If Democrats allow this appointment they clearly have a death wish.

One interesting and unprecedented development has come up. The Human Rights Watch has written to Bush suggesting that our massive (and heretofore never challenged)support for Israel should be cut back in the amount they are spending on their illegal wall and expanding their equally illegal west bank settlements. It is clear the wall is not merely for security but is more importantly a blatant land grab that is and will create terrible hardships for Palestinians. Sharon, of course, has gone ahead with this even though he has been told not to by the U.S. and the U.N. (when has Israel ever paid any attention to anyone that attempted to be fair and balanced with respect to the Israeli/Palestinian problem?). Nothing will come of this, of course, but it is interesting that as far as I know it marks the first time anyone has actually suggested that monies should be withdrawn because of Israeli violations.

Fasten your seat belts! It's going to be an interesting and exciting year. Come on Fitzgerald, join the fun. The sooner the better.

Thursday, January 05, 2006

The rats are leaving

Geez, you go away for a couple of days and all hell breaks loose. With Abramhof and Scanlon agreeing to cooperate and perhaps implicate as many as 60 others, and Senators and Congressmen falling all over themselves to return tainted Abramhof money, it is obvious that the rats are deserting the sinking ship of state. It is not clear exactly how far this will go but those in the know think it will be the worst scandal in decades. It is pretty clear that DeLay is finished. Hallelujah! There will no doubt be others as well.

Bush held a meeting to which he invited all the ex Secretaries of State, Defense, and so on. He claims he wants their input on the situation in Iraq. Too bad he didn't think of this before he recklessly and immorally ordered the attack on a helpless nation that was not a threat whatsoever. Bush is the worst war criminal since Hitler. He says he heard things he liked and things he didn't like. He's trying to demonstrate now that he doesn't really live in a bubble. Sorry Georgie, too late.

It's not enough that he ordered spying on Americans without warrants, and insists he will go on doing so, he now says he doesn't have to live up to the McCain amendment on torture. If he wants to torture he will. Can no one get through to him enough so that he can understand that he has delusions of dictatorial grandeur? He is either completely uninformed about what he is doing or he is crazy as a loon. It is plain and simply not the case that being at "war" (which we aren't) allows him dictatorial powers. If he has his sycophants that want to tell him otherwise, like Yoo and Gonzales or whomever, well and good, but it just ain't so. Of course if no one is willing to do anything about it perhaps he will get away with it (and most of us will have to ask for political asylum elsewhere).

Now he has also decided that he doesn't need Congressional approval for his appointments. He has just made 17 "recess" appointments which allows him to bypass any oversight. And he has predictably appointed political cronies to positions for which they are mostly unqualified. Julie Myers is perhaps the most blatant of these crony appointments but they are all bad. This must be the most incestous administration ever.

In spite of the fact that today there were more than 130 killed in Iraq, including at least 5 more American troops, Bush continues to insist that things are going well and we are making "progress." Rumsfeld, the senile old goat who goes on pretending to be Secretary of Defense, also insists that things are going well, the troops really like what they are doing, the Iraqis are "coming around," and so on and on.

And finally, in a few days, the Alito confirmation will come up. Personally, I cannot understand why they allow this to go forward at this time, pending the possible impeachment or resignation of Bush/Cheney. Furthermore, as it now appears that Alito is somewhere to the right of Genghis Khan, and seems to believe in a dictatorial presidency, to say nothing about opposing abortion and being overly favorable to corporations, it would seem this will be a very divisive confirmation (which I don't think Bush/Cheney really need at the moment). But what do they care? It promises to be an interesting year. Don't expect even one single positive thing to come out of our government for the next three years (unless Bush/Cheney can be prevailed upon to resign). As long as the Republican Party continues to support and defend them, they are equally criminal. And don't expect anything out of the cowardly Democratic "leadership," other than more silence and inactivity. I'm sorry to have to say it, but we need nothing short of a cultural revolution.

Monday, January 02, 2006

Something strange...

Morialekafa will not appear tomorrow. If all goes well he'll be back on Wednesday.

Something very strange is going on in our country. Bush/Cheney are claiming dictatorial powers and virtually no one is seriously challenging them. Of course there is Conyers and maybe a very few others, but for the most part the Democrats are silent. What, for example, happened to Dennis Kucinich? He was an outspoken critic of the "war" and in the past minced no words. Is he now so happily married he just doesn't care anymore? Or has Bush/Cheney's secret spying found out something that forces his silence? What about Barney Frank? He used to be very outspoken but what have we heard from him lately? Or is it the case that they do speak but the MSM simply refuses to cover them? Then there are the Clintons. But they have obviously joined the Bush/Cheney group (they know where the real power lies). One scenario, not at all far-fetched, is a Hilary vs McCain contest in which the Republicans (corporations) will win whomever is elected. Then there is Kerry who seems to be totally unaware of reality and goes on pretending that he participates in some form of democracy. There is Biden who claims he doesn't know anything much about the DeLay scandal and wants to continue the "war." John Roberts? Is the MSM aware of him? Warner of Virginia? He doesn't say much of anything about the "war." One can only conclude that the Democrats, one way or another, have been castrated.

Republicans, like Arlen Spector, are making noises about questioning Bush's claim to absolute power. But will they really try to do anything about it? Doubtful in the extreme. Let's face it, the long planned fascist takeover of the U.S. is about to be realized. The major Democrats are apparently in on the scheme and the rest of us, the peasants, will have no choice. Minimum wage? Ha ha. Universal Health Care, hee, hee. Environmental protections? Don't make me laugh. Rebuilding Iraq and New Orleans? Can't afford it, it might take away some taxes from the obscenely wealthy. Unions? No way. Civil rights? Not in a time of endless "war." Afghanistan? Oh, yeah, I remember that place. Is it a country or what? We still have to get rid of that pesky Social Security. We'll continue to work on it behing the scenes, in secret, where our best work is done.

Today it was announced that there will be no funds included in the budget for rebuilding Iraq. Why should we have to rebuild Iraq anyway? Besides, we've already paid out billions to Halliburton and others to rebuild it. And yes, it's true that the military has banned soldiers' blogs. We don't want anyone to see all those unpleasant things. Is this a great country or what?

On INN World Report today there was an absolutely marvelous discussion by Professor Mark Crispin Miller about how the Republicans blatantly stole the 2004 election. His book on this subject will be coming out (fairly soon, I hope) and leaves no doubt about what happened: pre-election, election, and post-election. I wonder if anyone will be interested. The 2004 election was a long time ago and Lost will be starting again soon. Oh, well.

Sunday, January 01, 2006

A fresh start

Thank heavens the holidays are over. Perhaps something important may happen this year. I would like to begin the year going back to some basics:

"It is with the help of the commodity concept that the mechanism of the market is geared to the various elements of industrial life. Commodities are here empirically defined as objects produced for sale on the market...
"The crucial point is this: labor, land, and money are essential elements of industry; they also must be organized in markets...But labor, land, and money are obviously not commodities; the postulate that anything that is bought and sold must have been produced for sale is emphatically untrue in regard to them...Labor is only another name for a human activity which goes with life itself, which in its turn is not produced for sale but for entirely different reasons, nor can that activity be detached from the rest of life, be stored or mobilized; land is only another name for nature which is not produced by man; actual money, finally, is merely a token of purchasing power which, as a rule, is not produced at all, but comes into being through the mechanism of banking or state finance. None of them is produced for sale. The commodity description of labor, land, and money is entirely fictitious."
Karl Polanyi, The Great Transformation

Thus the operation of a "free market system" over time, subject to no rules or restraints, would eventually self destruct, because inevitably the labor (people) and the land (environment) would be slowly destroyed and money would become irrelevant. A few enlightened countries, such as Norway and Sweden, for example, understand this and regulate the market so as to protect both their people and the environment. But in other countries, such as the U.S., for example, those in charge of regulating the market, being interested only in power and profit, regulate to insure only these interests and the people and environment suffer. Is this not exactly what has been happening over time in the U.S.? Here they even want to commodify (privatize) our water and air!

Eventually, in a system like this, when conditions begin to be unbearable for the people and their environment, they revolt and demand controls on the market that will benefit them rather than the corporations. Is this not precisely what has been happening in Venezuela, Bolivia, and other South American countries? Is it not what happened in the 1920's and 30's in the United States? It is not happening here in the U.S. yet again, but it inevitably will if the existing conditions being dictated by the wealthy and the corporations do not change. And, of course, they are exceedingly resistant to change and will do anything to stop change from happening. Hence the secrecy, the lies, the spying, the violations of civil liberties, the nonsensical main stream "news," the deliberate "dumbing down" of the electorate, the utter stupidity of TV programming, and so on.

The American Democracy we have been so proud of in the past is under attack by the current Bush/Cheney administration. Now they are claiming dictatorial powers that are not supported by our Constitution or our laws. They must not be allowed to get away with it. Let us make sure that we do indeed have a Happy New Year and not a repeat of last year.